Ellen DeGeneres is being blasted as “tasteless” and even “racist” after the comedian and talk show host took to Twitter to post a controversial meme following Usain Bolt’s gold medal win in the 100-meter race at the 2016 Rio Olympics on August 14.
Ellen took to Twitter to on August 15 to post a manipulated image of herself on jumping on Bolt’s back for a piggyback following his history making Olympics win, joking, “This is how I’m running errands from now on. #Rio2016.”
MIC.com reported that Ellen’s tweet, which was posted to the official account of her daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, caused a serious stir online, with many fans claiming that the meme was actually “racist” due to America’s slave history.
“Considering America’s history of slavery, where black women and men were listed and sold to labor much like horses and mules, this tweet didn’t go over well with many,” the site reported of DeGeneres’s Usain meme, branding the post that showed Bolt sprinting on the Olympic track with DeGeneres on his back as “tasteless.”
Usain was quick to retweet Ellen’s post to his own official Twitter account following his big Olympic win, but that didn’t stop other users of the 140-character site from slamming Ellen and calling her out over the “racist” post.
“So the first thing that pops in your head when looking at this pic is ‘oh let me jump onto his back like he’s a common mule’?” social media user @Jhoratio hit back at Ellen and @SankofaMind added, “This is too much racist c*** from Ellen DeGeneres now. The privilege of whiteness means u can offend [without] thought.”
“Ellen’s never been shy [about] forwarding racist tropes under the guise of ‘humor,'” @MuseWendi added, “Remember her Nicki Minaj stunts?”
But while some Twitter users slammed DeGeneres on the social media site, others rushed to her defense amid the controversy, claiming that the Usain meme was harmless and was not intended to cause controversy.
“Literally I’m black and don’t take offense to this she’s basically complimenting him on his speed and stamina,” Twitter user @fourfivehours hit back at those blasting DeGeneres as “racist” over the Usain post.
“How can people in these mentions call Ellen DeGeneres racist…. Ellen is far from that,” @AntoineFulton added, and @AllstateJackie tweeted out, “If you’re going as far as saying that Ellen is actually racist, then I don’t think you know who Ellen even is. The reach.”
Other users of the 140-character site also noted that they could see why Ellen DeGeneres’s Usain Bolt meme was misconstrued by a number of fans after users continued to slam the comedian turned daytime talk show host.
“I actually didn’t find Ellen’s meme to be racist… But I can see where the offensiveness originates,” @ShutUpMurdy wrote in regards to the Usain meme.
DeGeneres’s Twitter account later followed up the controversial post by directing her more than 61 million followers to footage of Bolt appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last year, which Ellen described as being one of her favorite moments from the past season of the talk show.
DeGeneres’s follow-up tweet, which came just hours after the controversial Bolt meme was uploaded, showed Usain racing a young boy named Demarjay who is a regular guest on the popular daytime talk show.
“Here’s something you don’t see very often,” @TheEllenShow tweeted out amid the controversy, “[Usain Bolt] losing a race. This was 1 of my favorite moments from last season.”
The controversial Bolt meme is still available on Ellen’s official Twitter account and DeGeneres and her team are yet to comment on the controvery.
What do you think of the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres’s Usain Bolt Twitter meme?
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney]